6 February 2009

Val's Wanna-Be Greek Burgers... Take Me Away!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wanna Be Greek Burgers
Usually by February I am ready to start shedding my winter coats, boots and gloves. The only problem with that is that the weather here in the "Great White North" simply doesn't care to co-operate. Instead of warm days with daffodils peaking their cheerful heads through the sun-drenched earth we have bleak, snow covered mountains and frozen ponds. Cry me a river...if it wasn't frozen of course:D

This is where a really good imagination, an armchair book and wonderful memories come into play. Anyone living in a country that has four seasons will appreciate the longing for sunnier climates. Since my destination of choice would always be the sun-drenched beaches of an idyllic island in Greece that is where my culinary trip will take me today. I am reminded of days gone by spent on the island of Kea with my friends Aglaia Kremzei, her husband Costas our guide and master of the grill, their energetic dogs, their friends and co-workers Kostis and Marcie at Red Tractor Farms, family and the other participants of the cooking school at Keartisanal . Such a perfect setting for learning new cooking techniques and learning to make use of freshly picked garden produce and herbs; exploring and hiking every inch of the island with experiencded botanists and history buffs; snorkeling the azure blue waters of the Agean Sea and boating in a traditional caique. Throw in a little dancing, some raki, newly made friendships with locals and tourists alike and you have an immersion of both worlds.

These burgers are a culmination of my longing to return to Greece. I always add a little Greek cheese to the mix to give these burgers a flavour boost!!

By far, the most popular and the most ancient of the Greek Cheeses is feta. It is the traditional cheese of Greece when we think of what symblozes the country. Feta is traditionally made from goat or sheep's milk and is stored in barrels of brine.

My next choice for these burgers (that would be available here in my area), would be Kefalotiri. This traditional Greek cheese is very hard in texture. It is made with a combination of sheep and goat's milk. It's salty and sharp taste make it similar to Regato or Parmesan.

Next would be Kefalograviera which is a cross between Kefalotiri and Graviera and made from cow's milk. It's a hard cheese, pale yellow in color with a sharp taste and smell.

And lastly Graviera which has a hard texture and milder taste which resembles Swiss or Gruyere in texture. Any one of these cheeses would add that touch of Greece to your meal!!!!

Top your burger with some homemade tzatziki and fresh veggies and your armchair trip to Greece is complete!!!

**Val's Wanna-Be Greek Burgers**

1 lb. lean ground beef or lamb
2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1/4 cup crumbled feta, kefalotiri, Kefalograviera or Graviera cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
Tzatziki Sauce (recipe to follow)
tomato slices , thin slices red onion,
thin cucumber slices, spinach, lettuce,
pita bread or rolls

In large bowl, combine ground beef, onion, oregano, feta or other choice of cheese, salt, pepper, and garlic. Mix gently. Shape the meat mixture into 4 patties. make an indentation with your thumb in the centre of each patty to allow for even cooking. Refrigerate while preparing tzatziki sauce.

If cooking on the barbecue preheat the grill. Cook patties for 13-15 minutes until they are thoroughly cooked and no longer pink in the center Turn them over once. Serve in pita breads or rolls with the tzatziki sauce and your choice of condiments above.

Serves 4


2 medium sized cucumbers
400g strained yoghurt
4 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons wine vinegar
a little salt
fresh chopped fennel fronds or dill

Peel cucumbers and grate each one length-wise with course grater. Salt, allow to drain and press out excess liquid from grated cucumbers. Peel garlic cloves, and crush them. Mix cucumber, garlic, vinegar salt and fennel fronds or dill. Fold the yogurt and the olive oil into the mixture.

You might also want to try a little different and less classic recipe for tzatziki from Ina Garten.

You are reading this post on More Than Burnt Toast at http://morethanburnttoast.blogspot.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author/owner of More Than Burnt Toast. All rights reserved by Valerie Harrison.
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  1. i wish i could blow a little sunshine on to you from crete, but that's rather difficult. look on the bright side - the high temperatures as of late have created hayfever symptoms in most of us...

    you've mentioned your amazing parents in earlier posts, and i must admit, i have a hard time imagining how happy your vegetarian dad would have felt during his army years - mind you, lahanorizo would have been perfect for him...

  2. Oh Val! Your longing for warmer weather is cute! And you have expressed it beautifully with these Greek inspired burgers!

  3. I can imagine the tzatziki running down my cheeks as I bite into this burger.....I have never tried feta in a burger, but it must be heavenly!!

  4. Those burgers make me want to be Greek, too! Could you make them with lamb instead of beef?

  5. I love Pita Souvlaki and Tsatsiki, so this burger's definitely for me! A great idea!



  6. Love the addition of feta and tzatziki to a burger.

    Thanks for the info on Greek cheeses.

  7. Is very chilly and snowy here too so I could use a dose of Greek sunshine too. These burgers look extremely good - I'm not familair with all those cheeses (other than feta) so must look out for them.

  8. Looks 'delish' -- and I'd like to answer Lydia's question with YES and it probably would taste even better.

  9. This is definitely delicious with lamb too but you use what you have on hand when you want to be "taken away":D

  10. I love tzatziki sauce so thanks for this recipe!

  11. Wish I could grab a bite of that glorious burger.

  12. Well, I woke up to a winter wonderland this morning, so I could use a little arm chair trip to a nice Greek island for sure! Your burger looks wonderful!

  13. Opa! I want to go to that island too- your burgers are consoling since I can't get there right now.

  14. Last Saturday I went for a walk and it felt like spring was just around the corner, the birds were louder and the sun seemed that little warmer. On Sunday it started snowing!
    I like how you make food that puts you in the mood for warmer weather and sunshine, when really the weather is not co-operating yet. I love winter comfort food, but I am certainly starting to look forward to the lighter fresher tastes of sprig and summer now myself.

  15. Let just say I am not a burger person, BUT with this Greek style burger and the Tzatziki sauce, I probably eat 2 of them.

  16. Those burgers look really delicious!! A great idea Val!

    Oh we have loads of snow here too in England and its cold bring on spring....

    Rosie x

  17. Love it, love it, love it! I like the full seasoned flavor of your burger recipe, and how you include spinach in your condiment section. And, Tzatziki is one of my all time favorite foods. YUM! Also, I can't wait to not have to bundle up every time I head outdoors. Come on Spring!

  18. I've never heard of those other kinds of Greek cheese. Thanks for explaining that. Your burger looks amazing!!

  19. I love feta - these look sooo good. Im bookmarking these

  20. Yumm. My Mommy used to alwaysmake me lamb burgers, so I am loving this.

  21. I definitely need to broaden my Greek cheese horizons.

  22. your burger looks amazing!!! if i can only send you our weather to your place, it's starting to get hot here... btw, love your new pic... :)

  23. The weather is never normal over here (UK) that's for sure!
    We still have snow but sun at the same time!
    Now, as for your burger - it looks sooooo good!

    Ps: I managed to burn our dinner tonight - went out and forgot it was in the oven - as you do!!
    So we are starved - Do you have any burgers left??
    If my picture comes out any good I will do a post on how NOT to cook!

  24. Could eat tzatziki on anything!

  25. Every time you reminisce about your time in Greece, you make me long to go there! In this economy, I guess your fantastic burger is as close as I'm going to get for a while. It is definitely a winner.

    Have you ever seen the movie "Shirley Valentine"? If not, you should try to rent it. Most of it takes place in the Greek Islands. It is marvelous!

  26. I love the sauce Val , your making me so hungry with this!

  27. I wanna be Greek too Val, & am sending some sunshine your way! It's beginning to defrost here & it's way to early for that...so I can see us frying eggs on sidewalks in the summer! I'd love to bite into that burger right this moment!

  28. Arm chair traveling is so wonderful! I've recently armchair visited France in the summer by making grilled sardine croute. They were wonderful. Isn't it fun to do that?

  29. you can slather tzatziki on an old sock and i'd still be satisfied. :)
    and yes, as someone who's forced to wear her coat all day long at the office, i'm completely ready for warmer weather!

  30. Wow the burger is mouthwatering. We had a beautiful sunny & warm day in the Valley.

  31. Eating this burger would be a messy affair but oh SO delicious. I can't argue with any of the components.

  32. Oh, those look goooooood! I love feta cheese - can't get enough of it, and putting it on a burger is just inspired :)


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